Conservatives will not cut corporation tax rate to 17%

Boris Johnson has told the CBI Conference that the Conservatives will not cut the current corporation tax rate from 19% as set out in the Budget

The long-term Conservative plan, confirmed by former Chancellor Philip Hammond at Budget 2017, was to cut corporation tax by 2% to 17% from 1 April 2020, but the prime minister told delegates that this would have cost £6bn to the Exchequer and will not go ahead, instead focusing the funds on investment in the NHS.

Instead the focus will switch to support small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Although there was little detail in the speech, Johnson said that he plans to cut employer national insurance contributions (NICs) for SMEs if a Conservative government is elected. 

'We will cut national insurance contributions to make it easier to hire and to put more cash into the pockets of the low paid.'

Johnson said: ‘We can only invest in our great public services if we support the entrepreneurs, businesses and hardworking people who get up each day to build our strong economy.’

He also pledged to increase the amount of annual research and development (R&D) tax relief.

'This government will double, in order to help businesses innovate, this government will double funding for research and development to £18bn in the next parliament – the biggest ever increase in support for R&D.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn also addressed the conference and promised significant investment in broadband, training and education, and would tackle late payments and reform business rates.

He also stressed that the Labour party was not anti-business. 

'It is sometimes claimed that I am anti-business, actually this is nonsense. It’s not anti-business to be against poverty pay, it is not anti-business to say that corporations should pay tax just as smaller companies do. It's not anti-business to want prosperity in every part of Britain, not just the financial sectors in London,’ Corbyn said, adding that if Labour was to win the election business leaders would see ‘more investment than you’ve ever dreamed of’.

He also pledged to invest in 320,000 apprenticeships, particularly in the green economy. 'You are going to have the best educated workforce,' he said.

Corbyn also said that the Labour will publish its manifesto this Thursday, with the general election scheduled for 12 December.

The Conservatives have not confirmed when they will publish their manifesto with less than a month to go until the election.



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